In the hunt for bathroom materials, I was constantly swooning over images of beautiful bathrooms with things like marble showers and limestone floors. I love these materials…in someone else’s bathroom. They are so pretty and calming and have just the right blend of grays and creams and tans to somehow seem warm and cool at the same time.
Unfortunately, if they were in one of our bathrooms I just know I would fret and worry over etching and scratching those “soft” stones while driving my husband crazy in the process. So instead I used those bathrooms as inspiration and set out on a mission to find nice looking, durable tile and counter materials.
But let me back up first. Before I came to that realization, I was at the Tile Shop one day and fell in love (like seriously) with a silver travertine they have called Legno Luce. It would have made a stunning floor tile. It came in 6×24 tiles (these were just 4×16 samples), so minimal grout, and it had subtle veining with tan and gray. I was blinded by the pretty tile.
I was so sure this was it, then I started reading up on people’s experiences with marble and travertine floors, and my confidence slowly faded away. I went back to the store to look at their porcelain floor tiles and came out empty handed.
I made an appointment with a large local tile store nearby (I’ll be honest, with little hope of finding anything I really liked) and met with the most awesome lady. I showed her my inspiration pictures, and I explained that I liked the stone in these pictures, but I don’t want stone. I just want the look and feel and colors of stone. She got me immediately. Then she mentioned how much she likes to browse around Houzz.
She had me at Houzz.
We were like kindred spirits I tell you. The first tile she showed me was the one. Of course that didn’t mean I was done. No. I had to bring home a bunch of samples and agonize over them for a couple of weeks. But in the end, that first tile was the one we went with.
They had a display of this in the store, and I had to bend down and take a close look to even tell it was porcelain. Yes, I’m the girl in the store petting the floor.
Please excuse my iphone picture quality.
It was called Florim Stratos Avorio, and it has a lot of similarities to the silver travertine I initially wanted. For a porcelain tile, it has a lot of depth and is very realistic in person. Fast forward to now, and here are our Tile Shop Legno Luce silver travertine samples on top of the Florim Stratos Avorio porcelain that we used in the bathroom. I think the Stratos Avorio is a pretty good lookalike!
I knew going in that we wanted white subway tile for the shower surround, so I mentioned that. She was all let me show you this beveled subway tile! Then I was all but…er…um…our budget…? It actually wasn’t much more than the cheapo white subway tile at Home Depot. Score. I do certainly enjoy showering in here now.
The corner shelves for the shower were another story. Nice looking and durable and at least somewhat budget friendly were not as easy as I thought to find in corner shelves. The only options I was able to readily find were white ceramic shelves that were a bit too chunky looking for the look I was going for, and marble shelves, which I didn’t want to have to worry about. I’d seen granite shelves you can order online, but that wouldn’t go with our look either.
Then I had a light bulb moment! Our stone fabricator can probably make quartz corner shelves to match our counters. Quartz can withstand just about anything you can throw at in (within reason, of course). We wanted three shelves, and got some quotes and they came to about $135 for all three. Not the cheapest option, but not as bad as I thought it would be. Score again.
The counters were actually an easy choice. We knew early on we wanted quartz, with only a fleeting thought of maybe doing a light granite, but we kept coming back to a marble look alike quartz. I had seen a lot of pictures of Caesarstone Misty Carrara and was pretty sure that would be the one, but then I saw Silestone Lagoon in person which is a fairly new offering. Oh, it’s pretty. It’s a lot like Misty Carrara, but I’d say just a tad more realistic looking. Either are good choices for a marble looking quartz.
Here they are side-by-side. I took this in the store with my phone of their big samples. Caesarstone Misty Carrara is on the left and is a little bit creamier with less marbling. Silestone Lagoon is on the right and is a little bit lighter and grayer with more “veining”.
I had to call around to a bunch of fabricators to find a Silestone Lagoon remnant, and actually the only two fabricators that had it were the ones that do the stone counter fabrication for our local Home Depot and Lowe’s. If you are looking for lots of quartz remnants at a good price, maybe try and find out who your local big box stores use to fabricate. They will probably have a good selection.
So I guess the point of all my rambling here is that I think manufacturers have come a long way with their fakes, and it’s totally possible to do a nice looking bathroom with materials that will hopefully stand up to some wear and tear, scrubbing, and occasional harsh cleaning.
We’re just finishing up the final touches in here, and should be back for the full reveal soon. I’ve been posting some other sneak peeks over on my Facebook page if you want to check them out :).